Thursday, January 26, 2006

The children of Sudan are its future - Save the Children

This photo is the "Pulitzer Prize" winning photo taken in 1994 during the Sudan famine. The picture depicts a famine stricken child crawling towards a United Nations food camp, located a kilometer away.

The vulture is waiting for the child to die so it can eat it. This picture shocked the whole world. No one knows what happened to the child, not even the photographer Kevin Carter who left the place as soon as the photograph was taken.

Three months later he commited suicide due to depression.

How many more years must Sudanese children and mothers suffer?

Here we are in the year 2006. In a Jan 26 statement on Darfur, Save the Children notes it has been 3 years since the violence against civilians uprooted millions of people in Darfur and the causes of the conflict remain unresolved.

Why is it going on so long? After two years of blogging Darfur, it is this author's view that the rebels are not serious about peace at all. It seems to me their aim is overthrow the regime in Khartoum and seize power for themselves. What other explanation can there be? They have been given every chance and the world has bent over backwards to help. Even UN envoy Jan Pronk was quoted as saying in a news report this week he believes the Sudanese government were serious in their negotiations at the Darfur peace talks -- excerpt from Jan 23, 2006 Sudan Tribune report:
"I have no reason to believe that the Government would not be interested. I think that the Government will be interested in getting a peace agreement soon. And they have been to Abuja," he said.

The UN envoy said he had been to the Abuja talks often "and the Government negotiated quite constructively. They were good, tough negotiators but constructive."
Surely a peace agreement could have been reached by now if the rebels really cared about the millions of defenceless women and children imprisoned in camps. This could go on for decades. The rebels keep splitting up and are not disciplined enough or educated to govern responsibly.

The children of Sudan are its future. The rebels are responsible for holding back another generation of Sudanese children. God help them all. We don't really know half of what goes on or who funds the rebel bases and their leaders in Europe. This blog author finds it all too depressing and is taking a short break. Note this other excerpt from the statement by Save the Children:
"The Darfur crisis has already impacted negatively on millions of children in Darfur, and if it is not resolved, it will have far reaching repercussions for many tens of thousands of children in the decades to come.
Save the Children fights for children in the UK and around the world who suffer from poverty, disease, injustice and violence.
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Children's drawings from Darfur

Children’s Drawings from Darfur, Sudan

Above drawing by Doa, Age 11 or 12: Janjaweed descend on a village on horses and camels, a woman flings her arms in the air as she is targeted for sexual violence or execution. A soldier takes a woman to be raped. She has a cell phone next to her head: "She wants to call the agencies for help." (Image courtesy Human Rights Watch/Sudan Watch archive)

See more children's drawings from Darfur.
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Peace will only be made, and kept, by the Sudanese people themselves

Abu Shouk refugee camp Darfur

Photo: A young Sudanese child is helped with a drink of clean water at the Abu Shouk refugee camp near El Fasher, in Darfur, Sudan, in August 2004. (AFP/File/Jim Watson/Sudan Watch archive May 27, 2005)
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Teenage fighters in Darfur

Darfur rebels

Photo: Teenage Sudan Liberation Army fighters in the rebel held village of Bodong in North Darfur. (Reuters/Sudan Watch archive)
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Darfur rebels listen to radio

Photo: A member of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA), listens to a radio at Dorsa village in west Darfur, October 10, 2004. (Reuters/Sudan Watch archive)
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Darfur rebel

Photo: A Darfur rebel (Unsourced - Sudan Watch archive)
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Rebels on Sudan's Eastern Front

Photo: Rebels from Sudan's Eastern Front parade during a conference held by the Front north of Kassala town, near the Eritrean border. (AFP/Sudan Watch archive April 2005)

Further reading:

Oct 3, 2005 Sudan's SLA Minnawi faction quits Darfur peace talks

Oct 2, 2005 Sudan's Janjaweed leader Musa Hilal led attack on Darfur

Oct 1, 2005 Sudanese army attacks Darfur civilians - African Union concludes all parties to the conflict were violating ceasefire agreements and there is neither good faith nor commitment on the part of any of the parties

Oct 1, 2005 Important African Union Statement on Security in Darfur

Oct 1, 2005 War crimes warnings from UN and UK on Darfur Sudan

Oct 1, 2005 Darfur: Peace talks expected to conclude early 2006

Oct 1, 2005 UN Security Council calls for Darfur peace deal by end 2005
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Calling Mama Mongella: The stability of Sudan is fundamental to the whole of the African continent

Marvel at this historic photo: A WOMAN among the 30 African leaders gathering in Khartoum to decide whether to allow a Sudanese dictator to lead Africa or to vote for a Congolese dictator instead.

The world watched African politics in motion and witnessed how African leaders once again chose another dictator to lead Africa. The African Union was set up to replace an organisation that at one time was chaired by Idi Amin. Had there not been so much adverse publicity from activists, Sudan would probably be chairing the AU and overseeing the Darfur genocide.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf at African summit in Khartoum

Photo: Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf (C) is escorted out of a conference hall after a closed-door meeting with other African leaders at the sixth African Union Summit in Sudanese capital Khartoum January 24, 2006. The African Union chose Congo Republic as a compromise to chair the organisation after opposition to Sudan because of fears its human rights record could hurt the continent's credibility. Under the deal, Sudan takes over leadership of the 53-nation body after Congo Republic steps down next year. Critics had said Sudan should not get the chair while it was under fire for rights abuses in its western region of Darfur, where 7,000 AU peacekeepers are trying to uphold a tentative ceasefire between the government and rebels. (Reuters/Antony Njuguna/Yahoo)
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African summit rejects one tyrant but elects another

See Jan 25, 2006 report in the Telegraph "African summit rejects one tyrant but elects another" by David Blair in Khartoum. Excerpt:
"If Sudan's record of atrocities makes it unsuitable to lead Africa this year, it is hard to see how al-Bashir will be the best leader to make Africa's case to the world next year," said Reed Brody, of Human Rights Watch.

He added that Congo-Brazzaville's human rights record, while better than Sudan's, was "nothing to celebrate".

Mr Sassou-Nguesso, 62, seized power in the oil-rich state in 1979. His Marxist regime was a key ally of the Soviet Union. Under pressure from France, the former colonial power, he eventually introduced democratic ref-orms and left office after losing an election in 1992. But he returned to power in a welter of bloodshed by leading a victorious rebel army with Angolan military backing in a civil war in 1997.

He called an election in 2002, banned his two main rivals from running and claimed victory with almost 90 per cent of the vote. Fighting continues in Congo-Brazzaville, where rebels are trying to oust him.

Mr Sassou-Nguesso's human rights record has been heavily criticised. When the United Nations repatriated 350 refugees to his capital, Brazzaville, in 1999, they immediately disappeared and their fate has never been established.

Despite all that, African officials insisted that Mr Bashir's failure to win the chairmanship demonstrated Africa's new concern for human rights.
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War crimes - have we learned anything?

Finally, here is a copy of a Sudan Watch post dated 18 April, 2005:

"Haven't we learned anything? Are we no further forward than we were 60 years ago?" asks the BBC's highly regarded world affairs editor John Simpson, in his report "War crimes - have we learned anything?

In the piece, published at BBC news online today, he writes:

"There was a time when we thought that killing on an industrial scale might be a thing of the past; but, depressingly, the pictures are no longer just in black and white nowadays. It may be 32 years since General Augusto Pinochet's men began killing left-wingers in Chile, and 30 since the Khmer Rouge arrived in Phnom Penh to force the entire population out into the killing fields. But it's only 11 years since Rwanda, and 10 since the Bosnian Serb general, Ratko Mladic, ordered the murder of every male Muslim in Srebrenica. And in Darfur people are dying right now."

He concludes by saying:

"It takes more than shaking our heads over old television pictures of piles of bodies to make sure that these terrible crimes aren't repeated. Governments will never take enthusiastic action unless they think we really care about these things."

Full Story.

Skulls - Khmer Rouge

Photo (AFP/BBC UK): More than a million people died under the Khmer Rouge rule.
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"If the people will lead, the leaders will follow."

[via Nile Basin Blog with thanks]

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